Page 188 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 the eighteenth century at more or less the level reached in the third decade. This meant that from 1716 the directors and their equipagemeesters took care that in most years an annual total tonnage of 27- to 30,000 tons was sent to Asia. This amount was twice as high as that in the second half of the seventeenth century. The destination, as already indicated, was Batavia in the vast majority of cases. Not until after 1730 was distinctly more tonnage being directed to other parts of Asia.
The increase in annual shipping volume was accompanied by a rise in the numbers of ships departing, although this rise did not always run proportionately (see graph II), for the average tonnage of the ships changed drastically in certain periods. Around 1640 the Company began to build and send to Asia ships on average larger than before. Most ships had a tonnage of more than six hundred tons. Only temporarily around the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars (1665-67 and 1672-74) were a variety of ships, like galliots and hookers, again equipped. Not until the 1720's did Company ships again increase in carrying capacity. For more capacity the directors therefore needed proportionally fewer ships. The average East Indiaman was to become even larger, for in the second half of the century a tonnage of nearly a thousand became normal. Whereas the Company in the financial year 1731-32 still needed 41 ships for a capacity of 30,950 tons, in 1772-73 for the same amount only 30 ships were required. As noted in chapter 3, in the second half of the eighteenth century mostly ships of the first and second rate were built. In the eighties the use of merchant ships from private shipbuilders and shippers led once more to a reduction of scale, since the merchant navy did not sail ships comparable to those of the first rate. The changeover to Company pinken (pinkships) in the nineties fell in with this trend to smaller ships. The establishment of a packet line with smaller cutters was a different development.
Volumes and average tonnage on the homeward voyage
The volume of shipping on the homeward voyage was determined by the size of the return cargo, and for this cargo the Company had after all been founded. This shipping volume was of course smaller than on the outward voyage: in Asia no large ships were built and many an East Indiaman ended her days in the intra-Asiatic trade. Furthermore the Com- pany not infrequently sent small ships out specially for service in the East. Over and above that the actual availability of sufficient ships and crew in the season of departure played a role. Table 36 provides not only a survey according to port of departure per decade, but also a statement - in percentages - on the relation between the size of homeward and outward shipping volumes.
Besides from Batavia, ships sailed home from ports in China, Bengal and Ceylon. The growth in direct shipping links between the Republic and these parts of Asia, which has been fully described in previous chapters, exerted a strong influence. Much more than on the outward voyage a considerable part of shipping movements in the eighteenth century took place independent of Batavia, though never more than half. The trend in the total volume is more or less the same as in that of the outward voyage. Again a marked decline in the years 1740-50 is striking. A n explanation for this decreased traffic is as yet not available. The first drop occurs in 1739, the recovery of the former level dates from 1750. The stagnation in shipping during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War in 1782 and 1783 and subsequent retrenchment of activities explain the smaller volume of shipping in the last decade and a half of the VOC's existence.
During the seventeenth century more than a quarter to half of the ships stayed behind in Asia. To what extent this capacity found an altogether useful purpose in Asia is not

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